Crime and Punishment: The Role of Norms in Crisis Bargaining
In this work I test the proposition that normative standards of behavior can influence state actions in security-related conflicts. Specifically, I examine the construction of norms in the settlements of security-related disputes and the effects these settlements have on subsequent militarized interactions. I argue that dispute settlements alter subsequent crisis bargaining in two important ways. First, they act as normative referents that alter the interpretation of subsequent crisis bargaining behavior both by identifying a solution to the dispute which alleviates fears of demands for future concessions and by defining a set of acts which both sides consider illegitimate. Second, in combination with the response to their violation, dispute settlements inflict reputational costs on states that violate them. I test these arguments against a realist theory of crisis bargaining through an analysis of 122 reinitiated international crises between 1929 and 1979. I find strong support for the hypothesis that states can and do construct normative standards that guide their behavior in international crises, whereas realist theory receives only mixed support.
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